Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Kristol Lands at the Post

That didn’t take long.

The last line of my post yesterday sending William Kristol off from his gig at the New York Times was “Write if you get work.” Well, he will soon be writing from his new perch at the Washington Post.

Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt called Kristol “very smart and very plugged in,” saying Kristol would be an influential voice in the coming debate over redefining the Republican Party. “It seems to me there were a lot of Times readers who felt the Times shouldn’t hire someone who supported the Iraq war,” said Hiatt, adding that he wants “a diverse range of opinions” on his page.

The Times hired Kristol for a one-year run during the 2008 campaign, and Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal told his paper that the arrangement was ending by “mutual agreement.” Rosenthal would not say whether the Times plans to hire another conservative. Kristol, who did not return calls yesterday, told Portfolio.com in November that he was “ambivalent” about continuing, noting that the weekly column was “a lot of work” and “I have a lot of things going on.”

Even some journalists sympathetic to Kristol say his Times writing was often predictable and not his best work, and noted that he had to correct three factual errors.

As Michael notes over at The Reaction, the Post isn’t known for its diversity of views; it tilts right with its stable of columnists such as George F. Will, Charles Krauthammer, Michael Gerson, and contributions on occasion by neo-con Robert Kagan. Then there’s Fred Hiatt, the editorial page editor himself, who was a blatant Bush supporter, although he has been referred to as one of the “25 most influential liberals” by Forbes magazine. (Well, certainly by their standards, he is.)

The Post can hire whomever they want, but I think it’s a little sad that they’re getting the cast-off from their biggest rival and calling him a great catch. With all the people who are out of work and looking for a job, they probably could have found a better writer who actually needed the job; for example, the homeless guy who hit me up for spare change at Walgreen’s the other day. Certainly he knows more about what’s going on in America than Mr. Kristol does.